When I go to the web site of my GP, I can't book a face-to-face appointment, only a telephone appointment. I do see the reason for that; most things can be dealt with over the phone. But not all.
I think I have a hernia. It's not too surprising - I had one several years ago, and because it had a risk of strangulation, I had an operation, which wasn't too bad, but left me knocked back for several weeks.
So I made a telephone appointment. The doctor took me through all the tests that she'd have done herself, and thought that it's most likely a hernia. A repair operation isn't recommended, but I have to avoid lifting heavy things and other forms of strain. I might also get a belt from the pharmacy. Just to be sure, she said I should make a face to face appointment.
Which I can't do on their web site. So I phoned up, and I can't do it on the phone either, except if I phone at 8:30 am on the day. I asked if I could pre-book, and the answer is no, I can't.
Why is this?
The person I spoke to didn't know, just "them's the rules". So I have to phone in at 8:30 am, hold for however long it takes, and eventually get an appointment.
My thinking is that, whether they realise this or not, what's happening here is rationing.